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Old 02-13-2021, 02:26 AM
Admiral Ahani's Avatar
Admiral Ahani Admiral Ahani is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 291
Sharing my method for front ball joints - w116, w123, w126

First of all, removal is done with a hammer and drift. I tried using my 20 ton press which did nothing (also it was very difficult to set up in the press for removal). Maybe a powerful air hammer would work but mine was too weak.

Installation requires a special tool. I've seen 3: the c-clamp, the special Mercedes clamp, and the 2 foot long pipe with the slot. I made my own long pipe tool using steel pipe from home depot, and tried it in the press. The pipe bent. Obviously the actual tool is hardened. Then I found this thread and did it this way with the clamp and removing the boot...
Ball Joint Nightmare - chapter 2

... but with a small change. I took the clamp apart and used it in my press with a straight rod instead of the threaded rod. I couldn't turn the threaded rod with a wrench, and I didn't like the idea of using an impact gun on it. It was very tricky setting it up, but once done, it went smoothly. I have a spacer (old bearing race) on the "bottom" of the spindle, to allow the ball joint to protrude once it seats fully. Then the spacer is topped by a flat piece (from the c-clamp kit), then above that is the re-bar which replaced the threaded rod.

Underneath, the ball joint boot has been removed and the clamp is put directly onto the ball joint (like in the link). The top of the clamp is put onto the large steel plates. So what's happening is the ball joint is staying stationary while the spindle is being pressed downwards until they seat together. This method worked great, but it took a lot of fiddling to keep everything square (i.e. coaxial) until it went in about 4-5mm, then it stayed aligned and I just pressed it in the rest of the way.
Attached Thumbnails
Sharing my method for front ball joints - w116, w123, w126-w116-bj-01.jpg   Sharing my method for front ball joints - w116, w123, w126-w116-bj-02.jpg   Sharing my method for front ball joints - w116, w123, w126-w116-bj-03.jpg  
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